ACCOUNTING OFFICER STATEMENT
It gives me great pleasure to present the overview of the five-year Strategy developed in response to the vision of the Council of Fort Cox Agriculture and Forestry Training Institute (FCAFTI) of creating an ideal "future College" specializing in Vocational Education and Training. An ideal "Future College of Agriculture and Forestry" must be able to significantly contribute to the achievement of creating a "decent life for all South African" by enhancing the knowledge and skills basis of the nation through effective teaching and learning, applied research, and community engagement. It must also produce graduates ready to be an entrepreneur of the future with a competitive spirit and problem-solving skills. Such strategic thinking and guidance from the Council to the Management are crucial to aligning the Institute approach to the new government initiative of shifting the mandates of Colleges of Agriculture from their provincial function to a national competence; a recommendation approved by the Economic Sectors, Employment, and Infrastructure Development of the Cabinet. The approval intends to establish the 11 Colleges of Agriculture as Higher Education Colleges in terms of the Higher Education Act (101 of the 1997, as amended) by the Minister of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and be
funded and managed administratively by the Minister responsible for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. There is no doubt such strategic decisions will redress
the past imbalance among the Colleges of Agriculture in their governance and finance and foster a well-coordinated Education and Training for the Sector.
Given FCAFTI is the only Institute (i) governed as a semi-autonomous Provincial entity of the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform with its own Council and fully-fledged administrative support structure, (ii) offers Advanced Diploma in different fields of Agriculture and Forestry independently, and (iii) have its Centre of Agriculture and Forestry Development and Empowerment, it desires to become an Institute of Excellence as a Higher Education College for the Sector. Thus, this new Strategy was crucial for aligning its mandates with existing relevant legislative and policy frameworks, environmental scanning, reimaging and redesigning its vision, mission statement, and redefining its desired impact and outcomes over the coming five years. This was done with a series of discussions over a long time and four-day participatory planning sessions involving the council, Management, Student community, and the
Council involving Stakeholders from the Local Community, Alumni and Student Representatives. Among others, this Strategy repositions the mandate of Fort Cox to (i) the Constitution of
the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, (ii) Fort Cox Institute Interim Provisions Act, Act 7 of 2015, (iii) Higher Education Act, Act No. 101 of 1997 (HE Act), (iv) National Qualifications Framework Act, as amended, Act No. 12 of 2019 (NQF Act), (v) National Development Plan 2030, (vi) White Paper for Post School Education and Training, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) policies and Strategy, (vii) Eastern Cape Vision 2030 Provincial Development Plan, and (viii) Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform. Also, its drives its new nine (9) strategic Outcomes from Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTFS): 2019-2024 which the Council chairperson stated earlier. The MTFS seeks to tackle the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality, and poverty through achieving a more capable state, driving a solid and inclusive economy, and strengthening the capabilities of South Africans. These three pillars underpin the seven government priorities of the MTFS,
1) Priority 1: A capable, ethical, and developmental state.
2) Priority 2: Economic transformation and job creation.
3) Priority 3: Education, Skills, and Health.
4) Priority 4: Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic
5) Priority 5: Spatial integration, human settlements, and local government.
6) Priority 6: Social cohesion and safe communities.
7) Priority 7: A better Africa and world.
These priorities are, in their nature, complimentary. While potentially contributing to several other outcomes derived from these priorities, FCAFTI has identified Priority 1 (A capable, ethical, and developmental state) and Priority 3 (Education, Skills, and Health) directly relevant to its mandate. As stated by the Council Chairperson, the Strategy identified nine (9) strategic outcomes crucial to contributing to the MTSF priorities ranging from improved governance to improving the quality of education and training and fostering comprehensive agricultural and forestry development and support programmes in the surrounding. The strategic focus of FACFTI in the next five (years) will be:
1. Consolidating new advanced diploma offerings in both sustainable agriculture and
2. Promoting applied research that is relevant to local needs of the farming
3. Developing a funding model to sustain the growth trajectory of the Institute.
4. Consolidating its partnership engagement strategy in support of the 'Institutes'
5. Expanding community engagement initiatives in support of rural development
imperatives of the Province.
On behalf of the College Management, I want to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the Council and all stakeholders involved in the planning sessions: the Student Representative Council, Stakeholders from the Local Community, Alumni and Student Representatives. I thank them for their valuable contribution and support. In particular, my special appreciation goes to Mr Mabombo who was instrumental in the guidance and facilitation of the planning process. Also, I want to thank the Academic and support staff members for the day-to-day hard work and commitment to upholding better service to our students. Lastly, I call upon all of us to strive towards achieving our shared strategic vision and mission in our service delivery and uphold the value of academic excellence, professionalism, Innovation and Creativity, and ethics and integrity.
Dr. M Araia
Acting Principal and Accounting Officer
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